Lesbian Couple Sues Retirement Community for Barring Them

A lesbian couple is suing a Tallahassee retirement community after it denied them housing because of their sexuality, according to an article on the Gay.com Web site.

Joy Lewis, 62, and Sheila Ortiz-Taylor, 63, who have lived together for more than a decade and who formed a civil union in Vermont in 2002, were rejected by Westminster Oaks Retirement Community on the grounds that the couple''s status violated the facility''s policy prohibiting unmarried, non-related couples from living together.

The San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has filed suit on the couple''s behalf, arguing that Westminster Oaks''s policy violates a local law that protects lesbian and gay people against housing discrimination.

Lewis, a middle school librarian, and Ortiz-Taylor, a university English professor, are both mothers and grandmothers.

'Lesbian and gay seniors across the country consistently report housing discrimination as one of their top concerns,' said Joyce Pierson, longtime elder advocate and coordinator of NCLR's Elder Law Project. 'Not knowing whether you will have a roof over your head as you age is a frightening prospect for all elders. Having to suffer the threat of being denied housing because of your sexual orientation is an additional burden that no senior should have to bear.'

For the full article on the Gay.com Web site, click on: http://channels.gay.com/news/article.html?2003/04/01/2